New Zionist presence in Canberra, Australia

The first meeting of an interim ACT Zionist Council has been held in Canberra, Australia expressing very strong support to establish a local, Canberra-based Zionist organisation.

The interim council is currently developing a new constitution, probably on a non-incorporated basis. and has gained a voice as observers on the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) Executive anticipating formal endorsement to be confirmed at the next ZFA Conference.

ZFA leaders recently visited Canberra to discuss participation in a variety of programs planned to benefit Jewish people in Canberra and in turn strengthen their ties with Israel.

ZFA President, Dr Danny Lamm said: “The ZFA warmly welcomes the official Zionist connection with the ACT community. We believe that this relationship will benefit the local ACT community and also adds to the strength and scope of the Zionist movement in this country. I commend the leadership of the community, who have spearheaded this process and we look forward to the organisation’s success”.

The ACT Jewish Community Inc was established 64 years ago with its bonds with Israel enshrined in its Constitution. Although there has not previously been a Zionist council in Canberra, an informal arrangement operated. The time has come to formalise, strengthen and enhance the link.

When the idea of a formal link with ZFA was mooted, it was decided not to change the constitution of the ACTJC but to set up a separate, non-incorporated Zionist organisation, according to the advice given by senior Jewish Australian leaders.

Vice-president of the ACT Jewish Community Rob Cussel told J-Wire “There has always been the opportunity for our community to be involved in ZFA programs, but a more formal link will enable Jews resident in the Canberra region to take advantage of the full range of programs and services that the ZFA and Jewish Agency have to offer. More importantly, local Jewish people will have the opportunity to express their solidarity with Israel. This will have the desired effect of strengthening our ties with Israel.

The new organisation is expected to be established in 2016.